Up until recently I haven't seen the need to use studs on my horses. Intro eventing doesn't involve much technicality or speed as the higher levels and so horses can be ridden on most surfaces without too much trouble. But as I start moving up I see more and more that studs would be useful for bad grounds, especially after a number of other riders have chewed up the ground on the course before me. In this series we will learn all we need to know about using studs on a horse.
Studs (or caulks) are small metal devices that are screwed into specially made shoes. The studs grip into the ground to give better traction on muddy, slippery or hard ground.
Basic Rules for Using Studs:
1. Always wear strong, covered footwear when using studs on a horse. You know how much it hurts when a horse stands on your foot without studs, imagine having a stud stabbed through your foot.
2. Always use small, blunt studs on the inside of the shoe. A horse can easily stand on itself and large pointed studs can rip the leg up pretty badly.
3. Horses must wear protective boots when wearing studs. As above, a horse standing on itself with studs in, is not pretty.
4. Put the studs in just before you ride and take them out as soon as you are finished.
5. Use the smallest stud possible for the job. While slipping can be dangerous, a little bit of slipping is better then jarring your horses legs with over large studs.
6. If your horse kicks other horses, or humans you need to limit the time a horse has studs in greatly. Studs may not be an option for you.
7. Never travel, turn your horse out, or stable your horse with studs in.
8. Be sensible and don't use studs if your horse is lame.
Do any of you use studs on your horses? What other rules do you consider are a must to know?
Tomorrow: The Basic Tools and Gear needed for using studs.